tv Meet the Press MSNBC August 9, 2010 4:00am-5:00am EDT
this sunday the hole has finally been plugged in the gulf, but is it mission accomplished? how much oil was spilled? is the environmental crisis over? how will bp be held accountable? where do we go from here on energy policy and oil drilling. i'll ask carol browning. a one on one conversation with the man who hopes to be the next gop of the house. what would the republicans do to get people back to work and cut government spending. our political round table weighs in on the long, hot political summer for the president. ethics scandal, jobs, gay marriage, the war in afghanistan and the choice in november. >> when you want to go forward, what do you put thear in? d. when you want to be go backward what do you do? you put it in r.
>> with us former congressman from tennessee, democrat harold ford. congressman from indiana and the chairman of the house republican office, mike pence. vanity fair's national editor and nbc's andrea mitchell. captions paid for by nbc-universal television from nbc news in washington, "meet the press" with david gregory. >> it's been 111 days since the explosion of the deep water horizon oil rig in the gulf of mexico. the leak has been plugged, but many questions remain. here live this morning in an exclusive interview is carol browner. welcome back. >> thank you. >> the split screen, before and after, is striking. we'll put it up on the screen now. when the oim was gushing this is what it looked like on the left and now it's been plugged on the right. the headline in the times
picayune new orleans begs the question end in sight as cement pugs into the rouge well. is the crisis over? >> the first phase is over in that the well is not leaking since july 15th. obviously the relief well has been to be finished, another 10 to 14 days away. we have to stay focused to make sure the beaches are clean and the environmental damage is restored and cleaned up and bp is held accountable. this is a phase but not the end by any means. >> let's go through some of those then in turn because they're all important. the question of how much oil is left is one you were askd on wenz. tharsz skepticism about it. >> our scientists did an initial assess mts and more than three-quarters of the oil is gone, the vast majority of the oil is gone. >> three-quarters of the oil is gone. again, there are some casting doubt about that. the claim that you have made. let's like what the commanders put together of the graphic of where the oil is, residual 26th,
25% evaporated or dissolved 24% using dispersants and that becomes important. you have roughly 50% there that is still residual or is maybe brown apart. this is how "the washington post" reported on thursday, scientists question the report of shrinking spill. some outside researchers said given the uncertainty about what happened in the gulf the administration's assertion that 74% of the oil had been accounted for seemed too opt mitttic. they saw it another way. about half is gone sfoern. they say the other half the 24% dispersed underwater is the real total of what's missing. despite the largest oil spill response in history these 2.5 million barrels of oil will be cleaned up by the gulf of mexico if at all. the situation is portrayed that the oil is out of the environment and gone said the professor but he said the oil
has shifted and dispersed. oil is still oil in a different form. how much is still there and how damaging is it potentially? >> it's important to understand this is the largest response to an environmental disaster. the goal was to keep the oil off the beaches and out of the marshes andest wares. that has to be cleaned up. some may continue to come onshore, the residuals will come o-and that can be cleaned up. there was the skimming, there was the burning, there was the containing. it was very successful. some of it is continuing to break downnaturally in the environment. molecules the size of a piece of hair, and we're going to continue to monitor that. the epa and noaa is monitoring and the food and drug administration is looking at the fish. i was just down in the gulf on florida on thursday and friday. the good news is we're not seeing huge amounts of oil on
our beaches and in our marshes. >> you acknowledge that 50% of that oil could still be in the gulf in some form? we're far from being out of the woods with this. you talk about on the order of 100 million gallons. this is larger than the exxon valdez spill because of the sheer amount of oil. >> this is 18 times bigger than the exxon valdez. it's been captured and contains and burned. this was a massive response. i mean, if you look at what was accomplished in terms of the beaches -- >> what's the impact of the remaining oil? you say most of it is gone, don't worry about it? the scientists say we don't know that yet. >> no one is saying don't worry. the tests show nothing of concern. we're not going away. we're going to continue to work with the gulf coast communities to make sure things are honored. larlt today the president's
birthday party he's serving his guests seafood from the gulf of mexico. we want these communities to be restored and made whole and the environment is made whole. there's still a locality of work to do. >> here's what you said in terms of the environmental impact back in may when you were last on me"meet the press." >> this is probably the biggest environmental disaster we've faced in in the country. >> does is that still stand, and what does that mean specifically? >> we had almost 5 million barrels of oil leak. we've never seen anything like it before. you went down to the gulf and asked people what they thought, they would absolutely agree. this is the largest environmental disaster and we responded accordingly and have been successful in removing a lot of oil. we're going to remain vigilant. we have to hold bp accountable. >> what specifically is the impact going forward environmentally? >> we had oil up in some of the sensitive marshes that can be cleaned to some degree. some has to dissipate naturally.
we need to monitor. the fisheries while we've re-opened some, some remain closed. you can't put this much oil throughout and not be concerned, and that's how we responded, with a great deal of concern. >> let's talk about bp's accountability. how many barrel was oil were spilled? >> the estimates are 4.9 million barrels, and those estimates are based on pressure tests we were able to do when the top hat was put on. >> bp doesn't commit to that figure, do they? >> bp ahas been silent, but that doesn't matter. >> they pay a penalty depending on how much. >> exactly. >> the government knows this answer for sure. >> our scientists feel confident in the answer. we started with satellite photos and rov photos and pressure tests. it's based on that pressure test that this number has been put forward. >> will the government pursue criminal negligence claims against bp to make that
financial penalty as high as it can be? >> i'm not going to comment on the department of justice investigation. they have a large investigation under way. i will say this. bp will be held absolutely accountable. >> to the full extent of the law? >> absolutely. >> you're suggesting here by everything you're saying that therm negligent and there should be a large financial penalty? >> there is a large financial penalty and natural resources claims, they will be responsible for paying up the cleanup. they're held accountable for the economic losses and there we got a $20 billion fund and in the comes day they will launch that fund. secondly, are the personalities that are significant and the finally the natural resource damages which they have to pay for. >> how much of the penalty dollars should be returned directly to the gulf coast? >> under the current law, it goes to the treasury. we think it should be returned to the gulf coast, obviously. >> how much? 80%? >> that makes a lot of sense. >> 80% is reasonable.
does the president commit itself to that. >> we have to work with congress. congress is not forthcoming about the bill. we have to work with them to make sure that the gulf coast communities see the benefits of this money. >> but the president at least supports the notion of majority of this penalty money being returned to the region? >> absolutely. >> let me ask you about the m e moratorium. the president said it was the right thing to do, and there's some talk to be lifted early. a moratorium on deep water drilling in the gulf, 33 deep water rigs in the gulf currently? >> he said three things. first of all, we have to understand what happened so we can make sure all the safety measures are in place so it doesn't happen again. in the worst-case scenario we have another leak, we have to contain it. we've learned a lot about how to contain it, and some of the oil companies say perhaps we should prestage the containment equipment. that makes a lot of sense. finally we have to clean it up. we've learned a loolt about how you clean it up.
we learned how does the burning and skimming work and booming work. if we can answer that, the pause in drilling can be lifted. until we answer the questions we need to make sure that we keep the gulf coast community safe. >> what are the chances it gets lifted early? >> i don't want to speculate on that. the work and analysis is being done. if it's appropriate, it will be lifted. >> are you not satisfied with the answers you're getting so far to those questions about safety. >> it's a very rigorous review under way. they're in the middle of the review, so i don't want to speculate. we understand the importance of these jobs, but we understand the importance of protecting the gulf coast and communities. >> you talk about safety. did the white house do an economic analysis about what a moratorium would have the on the impact of the jobs in gulf coast? it was never done before the moratorium put in place. those down there say the
moratorium is far worse than the spill itself? >> if there was another accident of equal size, we didn't have the equipment to respond. we had over 6,000 vessels, we had private citizens in this effort. if another accident occurred, we did not have the ability to respond. that formed a basis for putting a pause on drilling while we looked at the safety, while we looked at how to contain it ultimately and then clean it up. >> final question here. the president said in his address to the nation this about climate change legislation. >> the tragedy unfolding on our coast is the most painful and powerful reminder yet that the time to embrace a clean energy future is now. the one approach i will not accept is inaction. the one answer i will not settle for that the idea this challenge is somehow too big and too difficult to meet. zeel >> he said he won't settle for inaction, and yet there is
inaction. >> we're deeply disappointed we couldn't get clean energy legislation. there's a great opportunity, but that requires us to put in place the right laws, the right signal so we build the wind turbines here and solar panels and ship them to china. we're in danger of losing out. >> i understand the argument. the president dpru a line in the sand there. is he con seating defeat there? >> not yet. we passed in the house and continue to work in the senate. >> lamb duck session could do it potentially there? >> potentially. we turn to the man trying to lead his party to strictary this november, house republican leader john boehner from ohio. welcome back to "meet the press." >> david, good morning. >> i want to continue on the gulf coast spill as we near completion of this, and you heard carol's comments. i want to pick up on holding bp accountable. do you think the government should pursue criminal negligence claims again bp?
>> i think the government should do everything they possibly can to bring this crisis to an end. that means going after bp, enforcing the laws on the books, and restoring the gulf to its original condition. i think bp has stepped forward in terms of the money that they've put forward so far, but there is the law, and they should be held accountable. >> the question, however, also extends to in terms of revitalizing the gulf coast, this issue of the moratorium on deep water drilling. you heard carol browner concede the white house didn't do an economic analysis about what it would do to jobs and industries along the gulf coast. should that moratorium be lifted by this point? >> i believe the moratorium should be lifted. we've benadren drilling in the coast for 50 years. there are 40,000 wells operating in the gulf coast. there clearly was a mistake made with regard to this one well, but i think that we're risking
100,000 jobs in the gulf coast with the continuation of this moratorium. and i do believe that there are enough practices in place, enough safety precautions in place to allow this drilling to continue, because if we're serious about moving toward energy independence, we need to do all of the above, which includes exploration for more oil and gas in the united states of america. >> there seems to be some bipartisan agreement about this point when it comes to the gulf oil spill and the permits, there was a failure of regulation. whether it comes to the wall street collapse, failure of regulation. yet, you said something in july that caught my attention about a moratorium on regulations. you said i think having a moratorium on few federal regulations is a great idea. it sends a wonderful signal to the prift sector they're going to have some breathing room. do you think that's what the private sector needs right now,
is breathing room? >> i do. when you look at all of the uncertainty that's being created by the democrats' agenda, they have every employer in america, every investor in america scared to death and there's frozen. when you look at what happened on wall street and in the gulf, it wasn't we didn't have enough regulations. what we didn't have was enough enforcement by the federal people in charge of pursuing these things. the s.e.c. could have done a lot more with regard to the financial meltdown, except they didn't. it's pretty clear that those bure bureaucrats charged with inspecting wells didn't do jobs. we need to enforce the regulations we have now. >> let me talk to you, the job numbers that came out friday were disappointing. the private sector job growth is anemic at best, and yet the president is not fearful of a so-called double-dipper session.
what do you say? >> well, i'm concerned about the state of the economy. it's pretty clear that over the last three months the economy has paused. it's also pretty clear the american people are still demanding and asking the question, where are the jobs? the reason we don't have new jobs is because of the job killing agenda pursued by president obama and his allies in the congress. they really do have employers scared to death. i've been all over my district over the last several days. i was in a couple of my neighboring states. i talked to a lot of employers who just are fearful of what's coming next out of washington. it's all the spending, it's all the debt. it's their national energy tax. i call it cap and trade. more mandates, higher costs, more taxes. they are health care bill. more mandates, health care costs and taxes. if it's not bad enough, they want to raise the taxes on the american people. it's no wonder employers are frozen.
>> let's talk about it. it's interesting. you talk about the importance of cutting the debt and importance the cutting government spending and you worry about the democrats raising taxes. the obama administration wants to extend the bush tax cuts for those who make less than $250,000 and he wants them to expire for wealthy americans making more than that. you're opposed to that. alan greenspan, who was on this program last week, chairman of the federal reserve, said that's the wrong idea. here's what he said. >> i'm very much in favor of tax cuts, but not with borrowed money. the problem that we've gotten into in recent years is spending programs with borrowed money, tax cuts with borrowed money. at the end of the day, that proves disastrous. my view is i don't think we can play subtle policy here. >> you don't agree with republican leaders who say tax
cuts pay for themselves? >> they do not. >> leader boehner, he puts it right to you. >> the only way to get our economy going again and solve the budget problems is to get the economy moving, get more people back to work where they can care for their own families, and begin to expand the tax rolls to bring more revenue for the federal government. what we have to do is we have to get our arms around the spending spree that's going on in washington, d.c. >> you're not being responsive to a specific point, which is how can you be for cutting the deficit and also cutting taxes as well when they're not paid for? >> listen, you can't raise taxes in the middle of a weak economy without risking the double-dip in this recession. president obama's favorite republican economist, mark vandy, came out several weeks ago and made it clear that raising taxes at this point in the economy is a very bad idea.
>> do you agree that tax cuts can't be paid for -- tax cuts are not paid for, is that correct? >> i am not for raising taxes on the american people in a soft economy. >> that's not the question. are tax cuts paid for or not? >> you're trying to get into this washington game and their funny accounting over there. you cannot get the economy going again by raising taxes on those people we expect to create jobs in america and to get the economy going again. if you want to solve the budget problem, we have to have a healthy economynd we have to get our arms around the runaway spending going on in washington, d.c. >> i want to clarify. this i'm relying on what chairman greenspan said. if you're accusing him of washington games, he said tax cuts that around paid for they are not cutting the deficit. they're not paid for. it's borrowed money. do you believe tax cuts pay for themselves or not? >> i do believe that we've got
to get more money in the hands of small businesses and american families to get our economy going again. the only way to get that economy going again is to do that and get arms around the spending. >> all right. one of the ways you talk about getting your arms around spending was something you suggested back in june. that is that social security, the retirement age, ought to be raised to the age of 70. is that something that the gop will campaign on in the fall? >> david, i think it's time for the american people to have an adult conversation about the problems that we face. these entitlement programs serve tens of millions of americans and are critically important. we know that these programs are unsustainable in their current form, and i really do think it's time we sit down and talk to the american people together about how we solve this. i think we need to bring democrats and republicans together in order to solve this problem. >> you favor raising the
retirement age? >> david, there are a lot of options about how you solve these, but i don't want to get the cart before the horse. i think it's important to have this conversation. it's going to be a difficult conversation, but it's time to have it and come up with solutions done in a bipartisan way to address the problems. >> let me talk about the midterm race. several months ago in march you thought it would be a steep climb for republicans to retake the house. what do you say today? >> i continue to believe it is a challenge for us to take back the house, but we have candidates -- more candidates than we've ever had. we have 430 districts with one or more republican candidates in the race. we have the better candidates than we ever have, but we want to earn back the majority in order to renew our effort to go after a smaller, less costly, and more accountable federal government in washington, d.c. >> you think it's a challenge -- the press secretary robert gibbs
said on this program that he thought it was possible republicans could take orr the house. he believes that's not the case. that caused quite a stir. what impact did that have? it hasn't changed your view about the challenges the republicans face. >> david, listen, it's only august. there's a lot of things that can happen between now and election day. it is possible. there are 100 seats in play around the country, and 94 of them are held by democrat members. i've been all over my district, i've fwlbeen through a lot of or districts. the american people are screaming to washington stop, stop the spending and the job-killing policies, and yet democrats in washington refuse to listen to the american people. republicans have been listening all summer with our program "america speaking out." we're listening. we're going to come forward with our agenda right after labor day. >> right after labor day. why wait until then?
why not do it now? >> i think it's important that we listen to the american people. it's not about what i think. it's about what the american people think. ameri americaspeakingout.com hundreds of thousands have given us ideas about what washington should be doing. people voted on other people's ideas. if people want to go to americaspeakingout.com they can participate in this. out of this listening we will have a governing agenda to get this country back on track. >> but you are certainly campaigning to be the next speaker? in fact you can go on a website and order a mug among other items to support that effort. yet, the president of the united states is going to fund-raisers around the country and slamming republicans. this is one of the things that he says. >> they have not come up with a single, solitary, new idea to address the challenges of the american people. they don't have a single idea that's different from george bush's ideas, not one.
>> what do you say to that? >> when i handed nancy pelosi the gavel 18 months ago i said if republicans had to oppose our democrat colleagues or our new president, it was our obligation to tell the american people how we would do it differently. every time we've opposed the democrat colleagues we've offered what we thought was a better solution each and every time. when we roll out our agenda we'll roll out our solutions to solve the problem of joblessness in america, to get americans back to twoswork and how to con spending. >> will you offer specific spending cuts to offset the money that's lost by exextendin tax cuts? >> we've offered all kinds of spendsi spending cuts. we've offered $1.3 trillion worth of spending cuts and offered them to the president
and we offered to work with him to enact the resignificanckct i. why don't we stop spending. secondly, we need to make sure we get all the t.a.r.p. funds back to pay down the deficit. why don't we put a cap on discretionary spending at lower levels than today? it's time to stop the spending spree in washington, d.c. >> the president, of course, has called for a cap on discretionary spending. >> i'm talking about a real cap. like at 2008 levels and not 2010 levels. >> let me ask you about a couple our topics including charlie rangel. there's news there was a deal being discussed and republicans stood in the way. they wanted a trial. is that accurate? >> i would have no idea. under the rules of the house, the ethics committee proceedings are private. this is the only committee in
the congress where you have five republicans and five democrats. from what i read in the press, the charges against mr. rangel were brought by two republicans and two democrats together. this isn't about charlie rangel. this is about nancy pelosi's biggest failure. shel she said that it was time to drain the swamp. not once during this entire two-year proceeding has she called for him to step down from his post as the ranking democrat on the ways and means committee. >> is that what you're doing this morning? >> he already stepped down, but he did it on his own and dprafry it was much too late. >> should he step down from congress frsh congress, from his seat? >> that's for charlie to decide. the american people deserve to have members of congress observe the highest of ethical standards, and it has not happened. i told my colleagues 18 months
ago when i became their leader that i was going to hold members accountable, and i have. >> one final question that's been a hot button issue this week. that is calls by republicans to amendment constitution to change the 14th amendment. as a matter of fact on the rnc's website, the 14th amendment is listed as an accomplishment of the republicans, one of the major pieces of its legacy over time. do you support efforts to have the 14th amendment amended at thp poin this point? >> i'm not the expert on this issue. i have read the comments over the past week. there is a problem. to provide an incentive for illegal immigrants to come here so that their children can be u.s. citizens does, in fact, draw more people to our country. i do think it's time for us to secure our borders and enforce
the law and allow this conversation about the 14th amendment to continue. >> do you have a position on it? >> listen, i think it's worth considering. it's a serious problem that affects our country, and in certain parts of you're country clearly our schools, our hospitals are being overrun by illegal immigrants. a lot of them came here just so their children could become u.s. citizens. they should do it the legal way. >> leader, we'll leave there. thank you very much for our views. >> thank you. up next the battle lines are drawn, the economy, tax cuts, gay marriage, immigration and the war in afghanistan, all up for debate. next former democratic congressman harold ford and republican conk man mike pence and andrea mitchell, only on "meet the press." [ male announcer ] no one really wants plaque left on their teeth,
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we're backed now with andrea mitch xhet and former congressman from tennessee and the author of the new book democratic harold forld and chairman of the house republican conference indiana congressman mike pence. there's a lotd to get to, and the economy is still the top issue and something i talked with leader boehner about. first of all, in the context of the president's performance, here's his approval ratings as measured by usa gallup.
approval at 41% and disapproval at 53%. charles cook writes this about the economy. it is a millstone around democrats' necks and there's not a lot they can do about it. even president obama speaking to a small business on friday acknowledged this. >> progress needs to come faster. our job is to make sure that happens. >> so, then, congressman ford, what do democrats do for economic growth to get people back to work? >> i think two things. first, we've done a lot. we preserved the u.s. car industry, they staved the financial industry from goalkeeper over the brink, they passed a big stimulus. the problem is a majority of americans aren't experiencing the benefit of this legislation yet, which is why i think two or three other things have to be done. first, i'm a believer you have to extend some of the tax cuts, the middle class tax cuts and
capital gains tax cuts and the top rate increases for the wealthiest for americans. democrats often compare warren buffe buffett, take his language in support of reducing some of these taxes and compare him to everyone else. someone making $251,000 a year is very different than warren buffe buffett. we have to be sensitive to that. two, provide for certainty around a regulatory structure, broadband and power grids are built out. big companies with big chunks of cash need to know. the president ought to adopt some of the recommendations from his deficit reduction commission. i heerd leader boehner. some things have to be put in the table. the american people expect it and continue to watch a washington that is broken. i think it will hurt my party in the fall if we don't begin to do something. >> congressman pence, this is the tension i got out with leader boehner. republicans want more tax cuts, they acknowledge that they are not paid for, and yet at the
same time they want tax cuts but they're so worried about the deaf at this time. how do you resolve that tension? >> you focus on jobs. in muncie, indiana people are asking the question, where are the jobs? we have more than 14 million americans unemployed, national unemployment is 9.5%. clearly the economic policies of this administration, however well-intentioned, have failed. we have to do something different. it's not just about preserving the tax relief of 2001 and 2003, david. it is also about beginning to embrace the kind of spending discipline and reform that will restore confidence. >> you say extend the tax cuts that aren't paid for and cut the deficit. how is that a consistent, credible message? >> i understand the credibility problem, david. you know that during the first six years of this decade i spent most of my time fighting against runaway spending on the republicans. i opposed no child left behind
and the medicare prescription drug bill and the wall street bailout. what the american people are starting to see is that republicans on capitol hill get it, and that democrats from the white house to capitol hill just don't get it. you just heard carol browner on the show say they're intending i think she said possibly to use the lame duck session to pass a national energy tax. that is outoutrageous. what the american people know to get the economy moving again is to get federal spend being under control. >> if you want more tax cuts, you'd be specific saying how they were offset with spending kutds as well since they're not paid for? you acknowledge tax cuts being extended cannot be paid for, it's borrowed money? >> i don't acknowledge that. it's apples and oranges, something that john boehner was talking about. here in washington, d.c. they talk about tax cuts the same they talk about spending increases as though the government owned all of the
money. they say, are they paid for? i think deciding on a government spending increase is very different on whether or not we allow the american people to keep more of their hard-earned tax dollars. as john boehner just said the most important thing right now is to get this economy moving again, to create jobs, and to get federal spending under control. >> this is the only reason that democrats in my party have a fighting chance in the fall of holding majorities in the house and senate. mike and i are friends, but this argument is not credible. you can't have a, b, c and d and say you don't need them. you have to cut taxes and finding spending cuts. i think we ought to reform long-term entitlement spending in the country. you can't say you're for tax cuts and spending discipline and bringing down the debt. everyone needs an adult conversation here, and that's not happening. where i do agree with mike is this, jobs is the ish. we find ourtsz in late october
and early november where the polling places are going to open and close and people don't feel about the economy, his party is a good position. >> bigger picture beyond the taxes you had second oot geithner saying we're on a path towards growth, and yet look at the battering the president is getting. we have to show more progress faster. this is a big problem for democrats. >> it's a big problem for democrats because nothing is go to happen to really improve the jobs picture before november. it's just not going to happen. that's what we know from the latest data. given that, he has to go on the orchs and make a credible political argument and maybe an argument that goes beyond economies and just gets to what the white house is saying is just let's just beat up on george w. bush. i'm not sure that's credible so many years after he left office. they can talk about the inheritance and what he came in the office with. the problem is that congressman ford identify soldier all the
things they accomplished is not popular. with the stimulus, the jobs aren't there and they don't like the bank bailout even though most experts tell you it was necessary despite how up unpopular it is. >> and to pay the money back. >> they have paid the money back. congressman pence is strongly opposed to it. interesting that the minority leader boehner opens the door on the retirement age. that was a very big opening and one that i don't know if congressman pence agrees with it, because some may not want to follow him down that road. >> do you agree with that? >> i think it's absolutely imperative that we address all of the federal budget and have -- i like harold's comment. we miss democrats like harold on capitol hill these days. have an adult conversation about domestic spending and about entitlements. >> we talk about all these adult
conversations. it's a narrow question. you're for it or not. >> look, i am for reforming our public sbimgentitlements for americans who are far away from retirement. we need to keep promises for seniors, make sure people counting on medicare and social security have the benefits they have. for young americans, absolutely yes. we ought to bring real reform for the sake of future generations of americans to get spending under control. >> let me bring you into this. what we're talking about a lot, whether it's a debt commission that talk about the tough choices that have to be made, is washington in a position to make fuf choices about taxes, spending, and other ways it to create jobs? >> the not particularly. the deficit commission is a good example. that was appointed by president obama because congress refused
to pass a commission that would have binding power because of fears on the part of republicans it would lead to higher taxes and the democrats feared cut of social programs. he has this commission instead and they're taking hits that they've been working for the past ten weeks. senator simpson was in wyoming last week, he's been here for ten weeks. the notion that a group of private citizens have to deal with this issue is a symptom of what's wrong, i think. >> do you think, congressman pence, a debt commission will have any fooet? on this program i heard the head of the senate re-election committee said we want to wait until we see the debt commission. you've been around a long time. you know what you'd like to cut. you've been against spending for a long time. do you have specific ideas of what you'd like to see cut to get the deficit under control? >> we have terrific people on the republican side working on the debt commission and working in good faith on it. why the president imposed the
debt commission that wouldn't report until after the election was telling. the republicans are not going to support an effort to use the debt commission as an excuse to raise taxed and introduce a value-added tax. todd wrote that article in "vanity fair" about washington being broken. he talked about transcending politics in washington and your reporting suggested the president made a concerted efrtd to reach out to republicans early on. this administration hasn't sought to transcend the politics of washington, d.c. this is the my way or the highway administration, from the stimulus bill forward, democrats on capitol hill and in this administration have slammed the door on republican ideas, have slammed the door on bipartisan proposals. again, i just saw on your program again this morning the president saying even though we handed the president a book of republican solutions in february at our retreat and he ak nob acknowledged we offered
alternatives, the president is back to the old saw that republicans have no ideas. that's the reason his approval rating is plummeting. >> the reason he appointed the debt commission was because some senators who supported it, mostly republican senators, abandoned it. so they couldn't pass the legislation which would have a debt commission with teeth. >> i think there's a real concern, though, about going back to andrews air force base again. back in 1990. everybody gets all worried about spending and deficits and debt and all of a sudden they come back from andrews air force base with a tax increase under george w. bush -- george herbert walker bush. excuse me. republicans are very, very concerned properly that this debt commission wushed inpushed lame duck after the elections is a vehicle to raise taxes, which is aprofoundly wrong idea.
>> this is why todd sees this so striking. the american people hear the insider talk about what these guys are doing, they just want answers. if you're within a job or taken a job where you're making less, you just want leadership. my party happens to be in the majority, and they will probably end up having to make a stronger defense than republicans, but you guys have an obligation and burden to lead as well. say the president hasn't reached out to republicans is not true. we took the public option out of the health care bill in order to win republican support. that didn't go very well. on energy we've taken a cap and trade to win republican support, but the republicans said they didn't want it in there. we all agree to the health insurance crisis. with regard to the energy reform, democrats have taken out the cap and trade title to win republican support. that hasn't worked. lindsey graham isn't supporting it but wants to rescind the 14th amendment. >> let me get in here. >> that's wrong, that's wrong. >> here a portion of the
aforementioned article in "vanity fair." here's what you write, the modern presidency, barack obama's presidency has become a job of such huge size to be unrecognizable to the executives. the sheer growth of the federal government and the systemic have made today's washington a depressing and dysfunctional place, they have shaped and at times hobbled the presidency itself. >> i think that's probably, you know, almost stating the obvious at some level. one of the challenges of doing this piece was to find a way to get at problems reflected in the daily news conversation but not really explored. i think the obama top team all talks about the speed and the sort of velocity that happens here. i covered the white house 15 years ago. when i went to a briefing early on in the obama administration, i found that i couldn't imagine
trying to work in the white house or cover a white house in this modern media environment, particularly where everything move is so quickly and everything rises to the top because it's knew. >> the question of this as well, andrea. you have house members increasingly safe districts around the country, and where there's really not much of a premium put on compromise. >> no premium at all put on compromise. you've never had not only in the house but particularly in the senate a group less motivated because they're worries about the primary challenges on their wings and they're less motivated to the work in the middle. the kind of people working in the debt commission used to work together and still try to work together. you don't particularly in the senate have any motivation to try to work on legislation. >> i have food tto do two thing.
the issue of charlie rangel, there does not appear to be a deal moving forward. there are report that is some republicans want an ethics trials. what's your view on him stepping down? >> if the allegations are true, he should step down from congress. only xharly rangel knows if that's the case. we're in the trial phase ritd now. the opportunity for a settlement when two republicans and two democrats on the subcommittee were examining these charges has gone by the boards. i really do believe that we ought to let charlie rangel have his day in court and let the process work. >> harold, there's a lot of pressure on him from the white house down. what's the talk up in new york city? >> in new york he continues to enjoy support from big and porntd quarters. he had a birthday party last night, which i understand mayor bloomberg said he was going to attend. >> a lot of other supporters did not go. >> some others did not go. mike is about right on this.
charlie rangel i've known a very, very long. if he wants to have a trial and defend himself, he has every right to do that. this has a political impact. it contributes to the narrative that people or the thinking people have about washington, that it's just not working. i can only hope that if it happens, it happens quickly. >> david, real quickly on this point of washington not working, the promise of this administration is not because the media or lobbyists or decisive republican minorities on capitol hill. the problems with this administration is this administration and democrats in washington are not listening to the american people. on the stimulus, national energy tax, obama care they have rolled over the will of the majority of the american people again and again and again. now they're blaming the messenger. >> i want to move on. that's a debatable point to folks around the table. andrea, i want to talk about afghanistan. some horrific deaths of aid workers, their bodies coming back to america just earlier
today including from afghanistan tom little, who was a doctor working over there. these were aid work thaeers that into a dangerous part of the country in the north and were killed by taliban. this underscores how dangerous the country is. >> it's horrific, and the fact that the taliban in the north felt empowered to go after these workers, until now the real threat was in the south and perhaps the taliban are being pushed north, the threat is going north. the fact is richard engel our own chief foreign correspondent reported last night on "nightly news" that he talked to one of those doctors, and she came to the nbc bureau and wanted to bring a camera with her. this is exactly what hillary clinton has been trying to do. more civi
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